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Readers share their thoughts on the political climate, the legal climate, the actual climate and more.

A teacher's perspective on polarizing politics

I grow increasingly concerned with the political gullibility of America. We appear to believe anything we see in an advertisement or in a social media feed, and this could be the downfall of our nation!

As a teacher of rhetoric, I am compelled to offer a guide to surviving an election year in 21st century America.

1. Mute and look away from all political advertisements. The candidate has complete sway over the information presented in the ad, and therefore, it will always be biased in their favor.

2. Doubt all social media feeds and pop-ups. Recent history has proved there are hands in that mix who have anything but our best interest at heart.

3. Watch all political debates. Pay close attention to candidates' vocal tone and body language (do a little research into body language and neuro-linguistic programming). Make note of anything about a candidate that makes you uncomfortable — eyebrow raises, eye movement, vocal inflections. We have natural instincts that we should be paying more attention to in this regard! Debates are the closest you will ever get to hearing "truth" from a politician.

4. Watch all official presidential addresses, such as the State of the Union. Do the same regarding non-verbal language as above.

5. Fact check statements made in both 3 and 4. A little authentically unbiased research (check your own integrity on this one!) will inform you as to which fact check sources are least biased. I am most likely to trust the Associated Press (AP), Snopes, and FactCheck. MSN, CNN and FOX all have a history of bias.

Yes, I'm a teacher, and I just assigned everybody homework — it's what I do. And this is a big assignment. And the stakes for this assignment couldn't be higher. Our very existence could depend on it! Please, do your homework!

Please share this.

Jon B. Albertson, Garden Home

Why should Oregon act on climate change? Because others won't

I recently visited the office of my state senator, Kim Thatcher (District 13). She wasn't available, so we spoke with two of her personnel. Their denial of climate change and lack of interest in the climate change bill was appalling. One asked "What is China doing about climate change?"

Unfortunately, the U.S. is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gases. We need to stop pointing fingers at others and ignoring the problem. We need to act now to mitigate the damage we are doing to the environment.

Climate change impacts are being seen now: melting glaciers, rising temperatures, turbulent weather patterns, etc. The impacts will continue to worsen until action is taken. Since the federal government is not taking action, it is imperative the states take action.

Sadly, some people think human-caused climate change is debatable. As a retired statistician, I believe in using data to make informed decisions. NASA has data clearly showing that the biggest increase in greenhouse gases for millennia has occurred since the industrial age began and especially since 1950: https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence.

Our government needs to pay attention to the data and the science behind it. We need a livable planet for ourselves and future generations.

Lori Gates, Hillsboro

Good program provides healthcare for seniors

Many Oregonians are stretching limited budgets, with healthcare being a prime concern. Consequently, it is important to put healthcare costs and benefits at the top of politicians' agendas. I'm hoping that they recognize a program that is really working for people like me — Medicare Advantage.

This program improves on traditional Medicare by offering comprehensive coverage, including everything needed, with low monthly premiums. And most services cost a few dollars in co-pay. That way, seniors on lower incomes can go to the doctor when they're experiencing an issue, rather than waiting until it gets worse.

Plus, Medicare Advantage makes preventive and wellness care free. Seniors can get a check-up or be screened for diabetes, heart disease, cancer or other issues at no cost. Advantage programs also include chronic disease management programs, nutritional counseling and much more.

Medicare Advantage makes quality health care available to underserved seniors. I appreciate that Congress made some important improvements last year and more are coming for this year. But it is important that our legislators understand that more needs to be done to keep healthcare affordable for seniors.

Ray Johnson, Southwest Portland

District attorney urges vote to re-elect sheriff

I am writing to encourage Washington County voters to re-elect Sheriff Pat Garrett on May 19.

As the district attorney for Washington County, I know how important it is to have a qualified and capable sheriff running our county's largest law enforcement agency. Sheriff Pat Garrett is just that person. He oversees an agency that not only operates Washington County's jail, but is also responsible for ensuring public safety throughout the entire county. Sheriff Garrett leads by example and prioritizes principles such as safety, justice, compassion, holding criminals accountable, protecting crime victims, and integrity.

We are fortunate in Washington County to live in one of the safest communities not just in Oregon, but on the entire West Coast. In a time when crime rates in many metropolitan areas are increasing, Sheriff Garrett has helped to keep Washington County a safe place to live, work and raise a family. This is no small feat, as the challenges to public safety in our modern era are complex.

I am confident in saying that our county is truly fortunate to have a sheriff of his caliber, and I encourage Washington County voters to re-elect

Sheriff Pat Garrett.

Kevin Barton

District Attorney, Washington County


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